So Monday was the last day at Richmond Heights. We cleared the last pile of stuff, cleared out the last trash, and even swept the floor. I even had to turn in the key. It kind of felt like when I was selling my beloved car, and handed over the keys. Watching my car drive away that day, most likely never to see her again was this real mix of satisfaction of completion, and loss of a good companion. Locking up the store for the last time felt the same way. I had worked there almost every day for two years, trying to grow our customers, get in the right inventory, and best handle all the bumps along the way. I had helped make that store what it was. And then she was taken from me. I know they want me to take over the Bridgeton location, but she's no Richmond heights. The customers won't give me that 'Hey, how have you been?' smile. I can't ask people how their riding has been coming along, knowing the struggles they've been dealing with. I won't be able to ask if that new saddle helped their soreness, or if that new angle on their stem stopped their back pain. No, my customers are once again strangers, bringing with it all the excitement of a first date, but leaving out all the familiarity of the long term relationship. Either way, good or bad, it is sure the end of one era, and the beginning of another.
After the last truckload left Richmond heights, I threw my bike in with it, and caught a ride to the warehouse. The last few days have been sorting through an entire store's worth of stock, organizing it, splitting it up, and shipping it to all the other locations. It's sad to see your entire store sitting in a pile in the middle of a warehouse. And I will tell you one thing. The next time you deal with a company - whether it be a large local business, or a corporation - think of the guys in the warehouse that make this stuff possible. That is some hard, tedious, and never completing work, and it takes some hard people to handle it. I've only been working in the warehouse for a few days now, but between the sorting, the shipping, the receiving, just to sort it and ship it all over again... I can say this is not my line of work. So to any warehouse workers reading this: You're awesome! And to any non workers out there: Just think about these guys making your life so much more efficient, and everything that goes into it. I swear, every time I've had a new job, I learn a whole new appreciation for those who do it. I almost think everyone should be required to have a new job every year until they land their career. Seems like you'd have so many less people treating waitresses, customer service people, laborers, and all the other jobs that don't have inherent esteem, like total crap, and like they're somehow less than human. Not saying that every one of those people is out there doing the best job they possibly can, (because I know some do not) but just think twice before talking about them like they're expendable drones. OK, ok, I'll get off my box.
On the plus side, going through a warehouse for a bicycle shop that has been open for 35 years, there are some amazing treasures in there. I found a Campagnolo Record (the pinnacle of Italian engineering) 8 speed front derailleur, brand new, sitting in a box. Granted this isn't the elusive Record 8 speed "Titanium" rear derailleur or shifter set, but hey. For a place that doesn't even sell campy stuff unless you special order it, this is a pretty good find. (oh, and don't ask, I already bought it) Other finds include: A medium Campagnolo waterproof jacket, 9 campy speed titanium cassette lock ring, and a less than common schrader to presta valve adapter. (just in case you only have a fancy silca pump, but your kids mountain bike has schrader valves??) There's tons more, but these are just the ones I had to mention. So at least, in all this mess, there's still come cool things to discover.